Sicilian Donkey (equus africanus asinus)
Our name – Sicilian Donkey – is a tribute to a rare breed miniature donkey. It used to thrive in Sicily and Sardinia but is now, nearly extinct in its native land. The Sicilian Donkey is a popular pet in North America and here in the UK.
The Sicilian donkey arrived in Italy from its native Africa , where it transported water from wells to homes. Sicilian peasants also used the diminutive beasts to turn grinding stones for grain. The Miniature Mediterranean Donkey Association estimate at least 700 have arrived in Britain from North America.
“Miniature Donkeys possess the affectionate nature of a Newfoundland, the resignation of a cow, the durability of a mule, the courage of a tiger, and the intellectual capability only slightly inferior to man’s.”
In 1929, New York stockbroker Robert Green, imported the first miniatures to the US. They lived on his stud farm in New Jersey. As a result, almost all of the American donkeys originate from those first pioneers. They are most commonly grey dun with chocolate highlights but also grey, brown and piebald.
Miniature donkeys usually weigh between 250 and 400 pounds. They range in height from 26 to 36 inches at the shoulder.
There wasn’t much vegetation for the donkeys in their native habitat. Therefore they have developed an ability to subsist on relatively little food. Sometimes, over-generous owners can overfeed them so grass hay is usually all they need. Friends are important too. Donkeys are herd animals so it’s always better to have at least two donkeys. A well-treated donkey can live more than 35 years.
If you wish to buy a genuine Miniature Mediterranean donkey it is important to purchase a pedigree donkey, already registered with the MMDA. All UK Sicilian donkeys come from Canada or America and originate from the New Jersey imports.